Hong Kong

November 30

Hong Kong BNO visa expansions

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OTB Legal

Home Office expands Hong Kong BNO visa for grown up children of BNO nationals:

The home office expands the BNO route, opening it up to more young people as a result of changes to the immigration rules due to take place on 30th November 2022. This post will focus on changes affecting the adult children of BNO nationals.

Who will benefit from this change?

The key beneficiaries of this change are the adult children of BNO nationals who were born on or after 1st July 1997. Adult children born before July 1997 will not.

What is the current situation?

At the moment, adult children of BNO nationals can only apply for a BNO visa in limited circumstances.

  • They must have been born on or after 1st July 1997;
  • Must live in the same household as their BNO parent and;
  • Apply for their visa at the same time as the BNO parent.

If they meet these criteria, the adult children can apply to bring their own partner and children as well.

If the BNO parent has died, there is no route to apply.

It also does not include adult stepchildren of a BNO national, even if that stepchild is still living in the same household.

The aim of the rules was to allow intergenerational households to move to the UK together. This was a very positive step but experience showed that it still caused problems for many families. In some cases, the parents do not want to move to the UK but their children do. In other cases they do not want to apply at the same time. The adult child might want to finish a university course in Hong Kong but the parent wants to move straight away for example. 

What is changing for BNO applicants?

There are three key changes.

Firstly, adult children of BNO parents, who were born on or after 1st July 1997, can now apply independently of their BNO parent. They will need to prove their relationship to their BNO parent but that parent does not have to apply for a BNO visa themselves.

Secondly, if the BNO parent has died, their adult children born on or after 1997 can still apply independently for a BNO visa.

Thirdly, adult step children of BNO nationals, can now apply in certain circumstances. They must be

  • Born on or after 1st July 1997
  • They must live in the same household as the BNO national
  • They must apply at the same time as their natural/adoptive parent who is the partner of the BNO national
This sounds complicated, but it means that their natural/adoptive parent must still be in a relationship with their BNO step parent and the adult child must still be living at home with them.


Why is this important?

These changes will benefit a comparatively small number of people. Realistically, applicants need to be aged 18-25 and have a BNO parent. However, the number of beneficiaries will grow over time as more children of BNOs turn 18 years old.

For those who qualify, this is a highly valuable immigration option. The conditions of the BNO visa are generous. Applicants and work and study without a sponsor and with very few restrictions. It leads to settlement in 5 years, and you can combine time spent on a BNO visa with time spent on any other visa that leads to settlement. For example, if you have spent three years on a skilled worker visa, you can switch into a BNO visa for a further two years and combine the time to apply for settlement.  

The BNO visa could also be used instead of a student visa, and allows a student to start working towards settlement while studying. They can then look for a job in the UK without switching into the Graduate route or finding a sponsor.

It is also a great option for those on the Youth Mobility Scheme who want to stay in the UK for longer. The flexible work conditions of a BNO visa, also mean that it is preferable to a skilled worker visa. Unlike on a skilled worker visa, you are not tied to a particular employer, and can change jobs without difficulty.

How can we help you with your BNO visa?

We have helped many clients navigate their BNO visa applications. Our specialist lawyers offer a free initial consultation for those considering this option and they would be happy to discuss your case with you.

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